Everything You Need to Know About Visiting the Sahara Desert

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There are very few places on Earth that compare to the incredible landscapes you’ll see visiting the Sahara Desert. Running along Morocco’s eastern border with neighboring Algeria, the Sahara Desert is the world’s largest hot desert covering an area roughly the size of the entire United States. Many travelers visit Morocco specifically with the intention of venturing off into the desert and spending a night under the stars. And we can’t blame them! A desert adventure is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you shouldn’t miss out on. (more…)

Fun Facts about Marrakesh

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Marrakesh is a city like no other. Steeped in history, the North African tourist hotspot is a must experience on any serious traveler’s list of magical places to visit. The beautiful architecture, mosques, palaces, gardens, sacred ruins, charming souks, delicious food, tantalizing smells, and interesting people are what make Marrakesh such a captivating city. (more…)

Moroccan Interior Design

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Most people who visit Morocco are fascinated by the country’s incredible interior design. ‘Fairy’, ‘dreamy’ and ‘charming’ are some of the most used terms to describe Moroccan design style. Cherished and widely loved, it is copied internationally. From luxury hotels to celebrity homes, Moroccan interior design has become a staple to make homes warmer, cozier and perfect for intimate gatherings. (more…)

Visiting Morocco During Ramadan

Visiting Morocco During Ramadan

UPDATED: May 2, 2019: Ramadan is the month-long Islamic holiday celebrated each year. The Islamic calendar follows a lunar pattern so every year Ramadan moves 10 days forward on the Gregorian calendar. This year, Ramadan falls mostly in the month of May. This is usually a high season for travelers visiting Morocco. While many people balk at visiting during Ramadan, anticipating problems or inconveniences, there’s no reason to put aside your plans. However, before you begin your trip, it is important to know a few things about Ramadan. Here are a few things that will likely affect your visit, hopefully for the better! (more…)

Driving in Morocco

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One of the most common questions we receive is about driving in Morocco. Is driving in Morocco is safe? Are the roads good? Do you need an international driver’s license? Is it possible to rent a good car. In short, the answers are: For the most part, Mostly,  No, and Yes. (more…)

Destination Morocco: A Journey for Every Type of Traveler

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For many travelers the question isn’t if you’ll be traveling or when you’ll be traveling. It’s a matter of where you’ll be traveling. Where do you want to go on your dream vacation? Where should you spend your beach getaway to relax after a hectic month at the office? Where will you be taking that once-in-a-lifetime family trip? If you’re reading this, you probably already know where you’re going: Destination Morocco!

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Spanish Influence in Morocco

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The Kingdom of Morocco is a diverse country with an easily recognizable and rich culture. However, when you look closely, Morocco is also a melting pot of foreign influences. The geographic position of Morocco and its history have resulted in a complex web of cultural contributions. Moroccans are extremely proud of this fact and thus view their country as open and welcoming. Apart from the recent and obvious French influence, Morocco has a strong connection to Spain. (more…)

Casablanca’s Habous Quarter: For History Buffs, Photographers and Shoppers

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Most people traveling internationally end up staying at least a day or two in Casablanca. After touring the towering Hassan II Mosque, the largest mosque in Morocco and one of the very few that non-muslims are allowed entry, maybe they take a romantic stroll along the seaside boardwalk? Maybe memorable dinner at one of Casablancas many fine-dining establishments, such as Rick’s Cafe? But then what? (more…)

How Moroccan Architecture Is Built to Beat the Heat

When I was planning a trip to Fez a few weeks ago, I made sure to book a riad (a traditional Moroccan house) with air conditioning. Like many parts of Morocco in July, the temperature was forecast to be almost 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 Celsius). I was sweating as I walked through the streets but was pleasantly surprised to find that my guesthouse was nice and cool… and they hadn’t even turned on the AC! This was all thanks to the genius of Moroccan architecture! (more…)

JBT’s Ultimate Guide to the Quranic Schools of Morocco

The long, storied history of learning and scholarship in Morocco is often surprising to first time visitors, and even to some longtime inhabitants. In fact, Morocco boasts the world’s oldest university – the University of al-Qarawiyyin (also written as: Al Quaraouiyine or Al-Karaouine). Recognized by UNESCO and the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest university, al-Qarawiyyin was founded in 859 AD by Fatima al-Fihri, the daughter of a wealthy merchant family who immigrated to Morocco from modern-day Tunisia. (more…)

The Incredible Royal Stables of Meknes

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One of Morocco’s most famed rulers was Sultan Moulay Ismail. He was 27 when he came to power and ruled from 1645-1727. During his reign, the country’s capital city was transferred to Meknes, where his slaves brought to life his splendid visions for the city’s architectural masterpieces. Often called“The Bloodthirsty” for his harsh, often violent rule, not only did Moulay Ismail pillage nearby Volubilis for all of its precious marble and other materials to build his palace in Meknes, he was rumored to have buried his slaves within the palace walls if he was dissatisfied with their work. (more…)

The Museum of Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) Now Open in Marrakesh

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The lush grounds of a golf club in the outskirts of Marrakesh are now home to one of the only museums dedicated to African art on the continent. The Museum of Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL), privately-owned by a non-profit organization, had its official opening in February of this year. The museum aims to showcase the work of established and emerging artists making art related to Africa. Apart from a big contemporary art museum that opened last year in Cape Town and a few privately-owned galleries that have sprung up, there are relatively few places where African art can be seen on home turf. (more…)

Celebrating July 4th: Why the US Wouldn’t Be the Same Without Morocco

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If you’re in Morocco on July 4th, you won’t see fireworks or likely hear the Star Spangled Banner playing. There won’t be any baseball games on TV and you would be lucky to find Deviled Eggs or Grandma’s Potato Salad anywhere. However, what you should know is that the US as we know it likely wouldn’t be if it weren’t for this humble little nation on the northwest corner of Africa. (more…)

Tetouan’s Best-Kept Secret: A Visit to the Royal Artisan School with Green Olive Arts

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From the crumbling splendor of the 13th-century Alhambra in Granada, Spain, to the 14th-century Madrasa Bou Inania in Fez, Morocco, spectacular examples of Moorish plaster-carving, tilework, and intricately carved painted wood have blown the minds of millions of visitors over the centuries. Today, many of the same skills used to decorate those architectural gems can still be found all over Morocco in dusty craftsmen’s shops, often sprinkled throughout the old medinas of Morocco, where artisans use traditional tools and methods to create gorgeous, geometrically intricate works that are both functional and artistic. Often these skills are passed down from parent to child, but in Tetouan children have a unique opportunity to learn from true masters. (more…)

24 Hours in Tetouan

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The old Medina of Tetouan is a place where people live and work — you won’t find many souvenir shops here. But if you want to experience life in a Moroccan medina with few tourists where you can explore without being bombarded by “come have a look!” then Tetouan is well worth a visit, either as a long day trip or an overnight. With just 24 hours you can get a good sense of Tetouan’s flavor. (more…)

Secret Eateries of Essaouira

Essaouira restaurants

So, you’re in Essaouira for a few days. You’re adventurous and your taste buds are tired of the mostly similar Moroccan fare you’ve eaten so far in Casablanca, Fez and even Marrakesh. You might be with a group and have the afternoon to yourself or perhaps traveling alone or with your partner. Any way you slice it, by the time you get to the beautiful Moroccan coastal town of Essaouira, you’re likely going to be craving something a bit different than the Moroccan fare you’ve been treated to thus far, though you’ll want to search out for something authentic at the same time. Today, I’m letting my secret out of the places I love to dine at while traveling Morocco and telling you all about my secret eateries of Essaouira. (more…)

24 Hours in Essaouira

With its white walls and bright, broad main streets, its relaxed and friendly inhabitants, and its vibrant arts and music scene, Essaouira is my favorite city in Morocco. It has world-class kite-surfing, a beautiful beach and two major music festivals every year. Its atmosphere is unique for Morocco — a splendid mix of new and old, hippy and affluent — and it’s well-developed for tourism. (more…)

Eat, Pray, Love in Morocco – An Evening at Khadija’s Kuzina

In Essaouira, there is a cooking class unlike any other in Morocco. Khadija’s Kuzina, located just outside the medina, is an experience that is so much more than just learning something about cooking Moroccan cuisine. It’s a visit into the hearts of the proprietors, Lahoussaine (a.k.a. “Hussein”) El Faded and Khadija El Jadiri, and an intimate preparation of dinner in their home rather than in a commercial kitchen. (more…)

The Ultimate Parent’s Guide to Morocco Travel

Parent's Guide to Morocco: Mom and Dad's Guide to Traveling Morocco with a baby or child

Morocco is probably one of the most kid-friendly countries I have ever travelled. As soon as I started taking trains, buses, taxis and visiting the souks with my kid, an entirely different country opened up before my eyes. My wife is from Tangier so now, even if we live in Paris, we are in Morocco 3-4 times a year to travel and visit her family. I hate to stereotype, but it really does seem to me that most Moroccans have an extra warm, fuzzy, soft spot in their heart for children. If you spend anytime with a Moroccan family, you can see how this might be. At home, the kids really do rule the roost. Read on for some great tips and insider notes as we bring you our Parent’s Guide to Morocco. (more…)

An Interview with Josh Shoemake, Author of Tangier: A Literary Guide for Travellers

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If you are heading to Tangier anytime soon, do yourself a huge favor and pick up Tangier: A Literary Guide for Travellers . Sometimes fantastic, often incredible, other times unbelievable – this deftly researched love-letter to one of the world’s most storied cities unearths the stories of the writers and artists who have called Tangier home or passed through here on adventures of their own. These stories are deftly woven together, creating a fabric of a place, one that you can carry with you on your travels. (more…)

Farm-to-Table Dining at Port XIV in Asilah

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At first glance, one might mistake the misty, rolling hills outside of Asilah for the rugged highlands of Scotland. On a rainy, blustery winter’s day — where the only thing standing in your way is perhaps a massive muddy puddle or an enormous bull that looks a bit like a shaggy Shetland cattle — it’s easy to see why you might confuse the two beautiful landscapes. It’s even easier to see why you might confuse them when Karim Ben Ali, a Scottish-Moroccan, begins talking to you with his soft Scottish lilt. (more…)